In an effort to keep the winter break as stress-free and nag-free as possible, I figured this wasn't the best time to expect huge strides in the self-sufficiency of teenage boys department. And since our house could often be referred to as Overindulged Kids Headquarters, I kept the past two-weeks as unscheduled as possible. I did throw in a couple tennis tournaments for the boys, just to make sure that their bodies didn't atrophy as much as their brains, and yesterday they managed to drag themselves out of bed by 9:00 (after I opened their doors and told them to get up) so that we could all go to breakfast, and then to the bookstore.
At the bookstore, they each had one gift to exchange, and they decided to pool their credit together and buy a 3-D globe puzzle. As soon as we got home, they ran to Charlie's room to put it together. I mentally patted myself on the back for the fact that, even at the tail-end of winter break, they were getting along so well and voluntarily hanging out together. Two minutes later, cooperation came to a grinding halt.
"Knock it off! Don't yell at me! It's not my fault!" Charlie yelled, using his I'm-about-to-turn-violent voice.
"What are you talking about? You're the one that took the box off the shelf. YOU obviously got the wrong one." Zach said, before opening the door, walking down the stairs, and saying: "Forget it. I'm not putting that thing together with him. It's the wrong puzzle, and he thinks I'm super mad that it's different than the one we thought we were getting. Really, though, I'm not mad, and I don't care. And I don't need to have puzzle pieces thrown at me."
That's funny. Here I was sure we had managed to bring our children home from the store, but somehow we acquired these giant, immature morons.
After both boys apologized for crimes that, when said aloud, sounded pathetically ridiculous (Charlie: "I'm sorry I threw puzzle pieces at you." Zach: "I'm sorry I yelled at you."), and I put the plastic bridle on Zoe's plastic Playmobil horse for the 16th time today, that's when the ringing began.
Some families have an Advent Calendar for the kids to count down the days until Christmas, rewarding them for each day of patience with a small toy or piece of candy. Maybe moms need a Winter Break Calendar to count down the days until the kids return to school. But instead of a small toy hidden behind each little door, our patience will be rewarded with a shot glass, or three.